Mary’s Gone Crackers…Organic Gluten Free Herb Crackers

I’ve heard of the “Mary’s Gone Crackers” brand before from my Stateside gluten free friends and thought the brand name was pretty cool.

When I came across a pack of their herb organic wheat free / gluten free crispy crackers I thought I’d give them a try.

I like that the crackers are crammed full of brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds and sesame seeds which are all certified organic.

How did they taste? They were very crispy, thin and had a nutty taste. Although they’re not at all sweet for some reason they reminded me of Florentine biscuits, I don’t know why because they didn’t taste like them but they did!

So any drawbacks? Well, yes. Two. They come in a huge packet which is great if you’re going to have a party and use them to dip into hummus, have topped with tapenade or tomato salsa…But I’d you just want a couple then the rest are likely to go lose their delicious crispiness before you eat them.

The other issue? Well, I don’t know how much these crackers retail for in their native US, but the health store I bought them from charged me £4.99. Yes. £4.99 for 184g of crackers!! Is it just me, or is that excessive? I hadn’t bothered to check the price, imagining them to be around the £2 to £3 price mark. I don’t know about ‘Mary going crackers’ but certainly Mrs D felt a bit crackers paying over the odds!

I would buy these again but only if I was having a party and knew they’d get eaten before they lost their crispiness and even then only if I can find them cheaper in another store.

Gluten Free Mrs D

Hale & Hearty’s Gluten Free Felafel Mix

I love felafel and as it has now been a very long time indeed since I last ate some, I was keen to try out the Hale & Hearty Felafel mix. This mix is organic, vegan, gluten free and, like all Hale & Hearty products, does not contain artifical flavourings, colourings or preservatives.

The felafel mix said it would be ‘quick and easy’. Was it? Well, decide for yourself. Contents of Hale & Hearty felafel mix in glass bowl. Other required ingredient in measuring jug:
All you need to do is add water to the mix, leave to rest for 15 minutes and then make into felafel balls. The pack suggests using either your hands or 2 teaspoons to shape them but actually I quite enjoyed getting my hands in there and rolling them into shape!
Pop them into the frying pan and fry until golden:
For me, this was the only slightly tricky bit. When I started frying them, they stuck a little bit to the pan and had some burnt bits which I had to rescue from the frying pan. I’ve had the same problem with fish cakes in the past so not sure if this is more user error than product problem. The instructions only say to shallow fry but I wonder if you could oven bake them? Might experiment with that in future. Anyway, the sticky problem disappeared as they heated up and started to fry.
Here’s how I served them. I made my own take on Tabbouleh, except with quinoa.
So how did they taste? They were absolutely delicious, with lovely flavours of cumin, parsley, coriander and garlic all present.
The camping and festival season may nearly be over unless you’re going to Bestival this weekend (even I fancy a spot of ’boutique camping’ in a yurt!) but next summer you could whizz these up and be the envy of your fellow campers.
Store cupboard essentials score: 10/10 (as long as you have access to boiling water, you’re in luck)
Ease of use: 7.5/10 (but I’m hoping to improve my shallow frying technique)
Taste: 9/10

Hale & Hearty’s Rich Chocolate Gluten Free Brownie Mix

It’s not that I can’t cook (in fact I can, and I’m none too shabby at it!) it’s just that I really don’t have time to cook meals from scratch after a long day in the office. On the odd occasion I have made something, I later find the constituent ingredients lurking in the back of my cupboards several months later where I’ve used only a small quantity of a special type of gluten free flour, for example. It seems such a waste. So the chances of me making chocolate brownies were slim to nil, particularly given I don’t have a sweet tooth.

When my total chocoholic husband spied the Hale & Hearty Rich Chocolate Gluten Free Brownie mix in the batch of products they very kindly sent me to review, his eyes lit up and told me (sadly) in 7.5 years together I’d never ever made him a cake. I would’ve laughed heartily had it not been for the fact he really meant it. Uh oh. Bad wife alert.

In addition to the wholesome and nutritious nature of the Hale & Hearty products, what I also really liked is that you don’t need to buy lots of ingredients which might go off before you can use them again. Only basic store cupboard ingredients are required to make up their products. In the case of the chocolate brownie mix, so long as you have eggs, milk and butter at home, you’re in luck! If you’re vegan, there is also an alternative recipe for you on the back of the package.

Like all H&H products, there are no artificial flavourings, colourings, or preservatives. The mix is even organic! This is perfect for people like me who are short on cooking time but concerned about eating high quality, flavoursome food.
Here’s what you need (brownie mix in the white packet):

So how easy were they to make? Really easy. Empty contents of brownie mix to bowl, mix with butter and eggs to mix to a paste and then stir in milk. Recipe on back of packet, complete with variations you might want to make, such as the vegan alternative or perhaps adding chocolate drops or nuts. Pop in the oven for 25 minutes and that’s it. No leftover ingredients.

Here’s how my brownies looked fresh out the oven…can you smell that gorgeous chocolatey mix?:

Here’s a slice…yummmm…

How did they taste? Rich, delicious, chocolatey….the standard mix had tiny chocolate chip bits in it which I really liked. Next time I might add some white chocolate chips though. Amazingly, these brownies managed to last a few days in our house before they were all eaten. In fact they seemed to get better – the outside got a bit crisper / harder which I like in a brownie.

I can have a box of the Hale & Hearty Rich Chocolate Gluten Free Brownie Mix in the cupboard for the next time I need to sneak in yet another pair of shoes do something selfless. Yay, no more bad wife alert…!

Store cupboard essentials score: 8 / 10 (perfect if you’re likely to be invaded by a horde of chocoholics and need to rustle up some brownies in a jiffy)
Ease of use: 9 / 10
Taste: 9/10 (with white choc bits, it would be 10/10)

Hale & Hearty’s Fabulous Gluten Free Flapjacks

I love flapjacks. There’s something equally child-like yet grown up about flapjacks. They’re a proper grown up oats-are-good-at-delivering-sustained-energy kind of snack but at the same time they remind me of being a child. So when I found I was no longer able to tolerate oats, I was really sad. No more porridge. No more flapjacks.

When I got to try Hale & Hearty’s gluten free and wheat free flapjacks I had high hopes. Hale and Hearty was founded by foodies Catarina and her coeliac husband, Christian. When their daughter was also diagnosed with a wheat intolerance aged 6 months, they were shocked to discover the low nutritional value in existing gluten free alternatives for their baby. They set out to develop gourmet gluten free foods which are delicious and wholesome as well as free from additives, flavourings and artificial ingredients.

The Hale & Hearty flapjacks are crumbly, with big oaty flakes. They’re sweet but not overly so and come packed with  raisins and sunflower seeds.

So how do they taste? Well, put it this way somehow Mr D (who has no reason to eat gluten free other than I must) managed to take one from me and instantaneously began making enthusiastically appreciative noises before I had even taken my flapjack from the packet. I was fairly fortunate to capture some photos of these flapjacks since they were gone in a flash they tasted that good.

At 165 calories and 9.1g of fat per bar I think these bars can be enjoyed without worry over calorific values. And they’re even dairy free.

Hale & Hearty products are sold in many of the major retailers with Tesco stocking 7 of their products including these fab flapjacks. You can see a list of retailers and search for your nearest stockist by doing a postcode search here.

I hope Hale & Hearty are able to develop this product in the future to sell these flapjacks as individual bars. I’d like to find them in supermarkets/petrol stations/newsagents in the same way Eat Natural bars are now widely stocked. From non-GF Mr D’s reaction, these delicious and wholesome flapjacks will sell whether you need to eat gluten free or not.